Should You Delete Your Ex's Number After A Breakup? Here’s What Experts Say

Deleting your ex's number from your phone can be really hard to do. There's just something that feels so final about it. It's sort of like once you hit delete, you’re basically admitting that it's over for good. Needless to say, taking that step can sometimes be a lot harder than you might expect. But why should you delete your ex’s number after a breakup, anyway? If it's so hard, why do people do it? Well, while erasing an ex's contact can be painful, I've always been a firm believer that when the relationship is truly over (and you've gotten all your stuff back), it's time to clean house — contact list-wise. There's just something cathartic about hitting delete on an ex's number. In some cases, it's the only real closure you can hope to get, so I say: Embrace it!

Truth be told, I can be a bit cut and dry when it comes to breakups, so I reached out to the experts to get their takes. Turns out they agree, because saying goodbye to their phone number is an important step in saying goodbye to your ex and moving forward with your life post-breakup — in part because it’s a symbolic gesture of closing the door to the past, but also because it makes it just that much harder to drunk dial them later in a moment of weakness. No judgment, we've all been there! Here's how the experts say to handle this bittersweet situation.

Why you should delete your ex from your phone.

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While no two breakups are exactly alike, the experts agree that in almost every scenario you’re better off just letting the contact info go. “If you know that your ex is the wrong person for you due to [irreconcilable] differences, and you know that dating this person was unhealthy, you have to delete their number. You can't risk keeping their number in your phone, because on a night you're feeling lonely or in a weak moment, you'll go there,” Erica Gordon, millennial dating expert, founder of The Babe Report and author of Aren't You Glad You Read This?, tells Elite Daily. She adds the same goes if the breakup was totally amicable. “In the rare scenario, two exes have ended their relationship in a healthy, mature and conflict-free manner. There is nothing they disagree on and no lingering conflicts. In a circumstance like this, 'deleting' your ex out of your life might not be necessary. In the more common scenario, however, you and your ex probably reached an impasse, and there's likely plenty of unresolved conflict that fills you with anxiety whenever you think of it or talk about it. That's why your ex's phone number should be deleted,” she explains.

Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast, agrees, but says that oftentimes the deletion is mostly symbolic and a way to just put a period at the end of the relationship — and to make sure you don’t backtrack. “In most cases, you probably already know the phone number by heart, so this won’t necessarily stop you from calling them or contacting them on various other forms of social media and instant messaging," Leckie tells Elite Daily. "That said, you definitely should do whatever to ensure you do not contact them. If you stay in constant contact, you will delay your healing or more likely, hinder it completely.”

Hit delete when the time is right.

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Like in all things related to relationships, timing is important. Yes, that even includes when you should delete your ex’s contact info. “If the relationship was unhealthy, you have to delete their number immediately. Don't hesitate, just delete. Your weakest moments will be right after the breakup, and it's in those weak moments that you risk going back to them,” says Gordon.

While it feels like a final move, according to Leckie it’s actually more of a first step. “[Delete their number] as soon as you know that the relationship is 100 percent over. Psychologically it is the first step in accepting the breakup and moving on. A huge part in letting go,” says Leckie.

Move on and don’t look back.

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The good news is both the experts agree that once you delete the contact, you’re on your way to healing and bigger and better things. “You have to accept that the relationship is over and begin to move on, instead of hanging onto crumbs because you are attached to the other person and fearful of not having them in your life anymore,” says Leckie.

Gordon agrees. “Delete their number, let them go, and allow them to find someone who is right for them — just like you will find someone who is right for you,” she concludes.

My advice: Don't look at deleting the contact out of your phone as losing something. Instead, think of it as making digital and emotional space for something better to take its place. All of the steps you take when splitting up have the potential to be painful, but they are all just steps toward healing and finding a new love.